Thursday, November 21, 2013

My 2nd Craft Show!

My 2nd craft show!  Minneapolis Craft'za!  Whoo Kiyi Kiyi goes to the big city :)
It was a very successful day.  Let's just say that I made enough money to get me hooked.  I want to do it again!
I left my house with a car packed to the ceiling with soap and came home with a small box of soap. 
 So much fun! 

We had an amazing spot.  Right inside the doors and a corner spot.  How big do you think our booth is?  Someone on FB said they could sell as much as we did if they had a big space like us.  Um, that is a tiny, tiny booth.  The tables are 4 feet long.  The TOTAL booth space was supposed to be 5x8, but it felt much smaller.  
For weeks I was freaking out about our spot - Will it be too close to the doors?  How will I set up?  Corner?!  Where will I put the tables?  Too many tables?  Not enough!?!  
It was perfect.
People at least saw the booth when they first came in.  They would look and listen to our spiel (if there is one thing I have learned from 4 generations of sales people - you gotta sell it) - then they would either buy on the spot or circle around and come back after they looked at everything else.  It was a great spot, because it had some open area around it.  It got really crowded....or so I heard - I never left the booth!  

My Mom was amazing!  She helped me so much!  
Just having her there to tell me to calm down was great!  I was so nervous before the sale that I was shaking.  Standing in the bathroom, shaking and telling myself I didn't think I could do it and it was a mistake.  My Mom was like, "Nah, you'll be fine."
She also helped me wrap the last 75 soaps 2 days before the show, helped me load and unload the car, set up the booth and is a great sales person.  She's really good at bragging about me ;)

So here is the booth!
I did not set it up at home and practice (like all the people say to do), because I had no idea what our actual booth size would look like.  It just came together perfectly.
We got to the show site 20 mins. before it was supposed to open for set up, but they were starting to let people set up any way.  The TV crew was there!!  No, we didn't make it on TV.  The back of my display was on the edge of one shot.  Does that count?  ha ha

We had plenty of time to set up.  Lots and lots of time.  And again after the show opened we didn't sell anything for 1 hour.  What is up with that?  I can't decide if the first hour or the last hour of a craft show is the longest hour in the world. 

So many hours of work in these pictures.  And so many fun memories of creating these soaps.  And so many little soapies that went off to new homes!  I feel like the adoption coordinator for soap :P  I hope all my little soaps are behaving in their new homes.

These gnomes were a great idea.  I painted them to match the color scheme and they each held a sign with prices or info.  SOOOO many people stopped to look at them.  Some people thought they were soap.  I had some actual gnome soap and I sold them all!  
So I bought the gnomes at Walmart....which makes me feel bad as a hand crafter, but I AM a hand crafter, so I usually can't afford hand crafted items.  Starting a business takes a bit of capital and at this point in my enterprise I am sometimes choosing fragrance oils over food.  So yeah I bought them at Walmart and yeah I feel guilty about it.....But the big blue dish is vintage!    

It was so fascinating to see what sold at this sale vs. the last sale.  Such different things were popular!  At the last one I sold out of Almond Milk and Honey & Oatmeal and Honey & Pumpkin Spice Beer.  At Craft'za I sold only a few bars of those, but I sold out of Psycho Citrus and anything with patchouli.  Speaking of patchouli.... I custom blend all my fragrance oils and I think it is really funny when someone says they HATE they are clutching to their heart 4 bars that all have patchouli blends.  Good aged patchouli is delicious and blends amazingly.  

The little lotions sold out really fast.  I wish I had had more time to make more lotion, but I only make 16 ounces at a time, so it is a slow (but high quality!) process.

This was the most amazing craft show I have ever been to!   It just made me giddy to see so many amazing hand crafters!  Or maybe I was high on adrenaline LOL!

The quality of the products and displays was just wonderful.  I was so impressed and felt like such a newbie :P

I met some really nice people in the booth across from me.  The husband and wife team of the Elixery.  They were SO amazingly nice.  I did not expect any one to be so nice...and they are kind of celebrities.  I saw them on TV before the show and I was totally intimidated that they would be across from me.  They were very complimentary about my product and display.  It meant so much more coming from someone like them!  Because they have an amazing product themselves!  

Anyway,  I learned a lot and had a lot of fun hanging out with my Mom :)
And I found out that I love my Paypal credit card swiper!  Money, money!  LOL!  And fun!  And creativity!  :)
That's what it's all about!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Big Craft Show

I had my first big craft show a few weeks ago (getting ready for my 2nd one - this week-end!!) and I learned a lot.  I read a ton of websites, blogs, ect. about how to set up a craft show booth, so I thought I would throw in my 2 cents too.  A lot of places said to build your booth up - get height!  They also said to practice setting up your booth.  This was a good idea.  Below is a pic of my first set up idea.  It went through a lot of changes....

Get height - just not too much - this is waaaay too much.

Above is what my booth ended up looking like.  This was a pic from the end of the day, right before we took everything down.  I sold a LOT of product, so the table was looking a little bare, but you can kind of get an idea of what it looked like.

When I started out the day I had this (I thought) super awesome step set displaying all my soaps.  Sure it looked good, BUT I didn't sell anything until I got rid of the steps.  They were pushing people away from my booth.  Maybe people were afraid the soaps might fall if they touched them?  Maybe it was cutting me off from my customers?  Or maybe people just didn't like the color!  
Literally, the minute we took the steps off the table - soap started to sell.  As we were taking them off the table people were coming up and picking bars up to sniff.  It made a huge difference!

People could not see the items displayed in these boxes.  Not sure why, but through out the day I would point them out to each customer and then they would see them - other wise it was like they were invisible!  
That's my super awesome apron on the table - the pocket fits my iphone with paypal reader perfectly!  

I sold ZERO liquid soap.  Everyone says they like liquid soap, but no one bought any....they all bought bar soap.  Which makes me happy!  Because I think my bar soaps are so much nicer than my liquid soap.  Liquid soap is fine, but bar soap is amazing.

I sold a lot of lotion.  Sadly I sold out of some scents and had people coming back at the end of the show wanting to buy the sold out lotion - sorry!  It went fast!
Favorite lip balm flavor?  Vanilla bean.
I have realized that making lip balm is not my favorite thing to do LOL!  It takes FOREVER.  I spent one whole day - more than 8 hours making 60 lip balms.  They are so putzy - with the little labels and everything.  I guess I just like making soap better :)

I had testers available for the lotions and little spoons.  Also clean and used bowls to collect the used tester spoons.  Some how I forgot 2 of the tester pots at home.  I was kicking myself all day about that, because people would invariably want to test the one I didn't have.  

Beginning of day (above)
End of day (below)

And now I need to go get ready for this week-ends show!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soap Making, Packaging and the Golden Globes!

My largest wholesale order :)

Sept. and Oct. have been very busy months and November is looking like an even busier month!  I am making lots and lots of soap....and having so much fun :)

These gnomes were a custom order for a wholesale customer.  They are time consuming to make, but so cute!  The green ones were scented in pine tree and then red ones were scented in red apple.  I dust each one with 24k gold mica.  The packaging turned out to be the biggest headache.  My supplier didn't have any of the gold buttons washi tape, so I had to order a different gold stripe washi tape.  Um, yeah it didn't stick so great.  SO I had to glue each piece of tape on to the soap boxes - it took forever!  You can see in the picture at the top how the tape crisscrosses the top of the boxes (middle, lower kraft boxes in picture).  I was using a glue gun and I burned my finger too.  But they ARE so cute :)  I have a few of them listed in my shop - lighter green color, pine scent Golden Gnomes

I made this super moisturizing shaving soap - I LOVE this stuff!  I have been shaving my legs with it and it is amazing.  So smooth...I may have asked (a few) people to feel my legs LOL!  It also smells really good - winter apple, smells to me like Herbal Essences.  Plus I found these awesome little vintage glass lids to use with the cute little glass jars - great for traveling.  I have already tested it on a trip and the jar and cover worked great!  Shaving Soap

This was my donation to the Joyful Child Foundation benefit.  I sewed the cute little bag myself!  It was my first time sewing a zipper.  It turned out nice, my Mom saw it and thought I had bought it some where, because the stitching was so straight and even.  Ha! I included a bar of Tipsy Hippy soap.  Made with 1/2 hemp milk and 1/2 Minnesota micro brewed beer.

My soap is going to the Golden Globes!!!  These are the bags I had made (by another small hand crafter!) for my soaps.  The soap (in these cute bags) will be included in swag bags and given to some attendees. 

One of my favorite new soaps - unscented and uncolored.  Bear Buns.  The packaging is very cute ;)

I like the uncolored soaps, but I love colored soaps.  Marie Antoinette
 - let them wash with soap cake!  Below - Psychedelic - whoo patchouli!

Well, I have to get back to making soap!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shipping Mystery

Soap pictures!  

And now to the point of this post.  I have been shipping a lot of soap.  I have noticed something very strange.  If I send a package and it takes this route: me - St. Paul - Des Moines, Iowa.......well, apparently there is a black hole that likes to eat packages in Iowa.  Or at least hold on to them for a REALLY long time.  Now if that package takes this route: me - St. Paul - ANY WHERE ELSE but Iowa - bam! straight to the customer is less than 2 or maybe (if it's far away like Canada) 3 days.  
Why?  Why?  Why?  What does Iowa do to my packages?  

Another fun thing that happened recently:  I sent a package from me (Minnesota) to customer (Colorado).  The package went through Iowa (thank you, no) and they sent it to Colorado by way of HAWAII.  Yes, my products took a free trip across the ocean to Hawaii.  Of course, this took the package a really long time to get to its finally destination. 

 I check up on all my orders (and cry a little tear when they get way laid in Iowa) and I couldn't believe it when I saw that this package was in Hawaii.  I sent the customer a coupon for their next order to say sorry for the USPS's oopsie.

I think the USPS is great - they get my stuff around the world, but I have to wonder what is going on in Iowa?

P.S.  I have a new web site :)  Kiyi Kiyi

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rainbow Soap and Samples

I made rainbow soap yesterday - a double batch!  Which for me, because I make very small batches, means 16 - 5 ounce bars.  
Rainbow soap looks easy, but it's not.  I am always racing the soap!  First, trying to get it to a thick enough trace that I can pour it (gently! very gently!) and the layers won't swirl together.  BUT I don't want it too thick or the layers will separate and there will be air pockets - not attractive.  
So first waiting for the batter to thicken up and then racing, racing fast! to get the layers poured and leveled.  I bang the molds on the floor after pouring each layer - to get the air bubbles out.  
Now double everything by 2, because I was making 2 batches at the same time.  

I think it turned out pretty :)
And was worth the effort!

I love my herb and clay colored soaps, but rainbow soap makes me happy!  I smile every time I look at it.

This is 2 batches - 16, 5 ounce bars.

Then I cut each bar into 1/3.  Why?  Because I am participating in the October Tantalizing Sampler.  So if you want to try one of these beautiful rainbow soaps scented with Lemon Honey (secret blend of essential oils developed by me!) sign up for the October Tantalizing Sampler! :)  Or you can get a full sized bar in my Etsy shop Kiyi-Kiyi.  There is a limited supply :)

Rainbow soap = HAPPY!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Farmer's Market - First Week

Last Saturday was my first time at the local farmer's market.  I had a lot of fun and learned a ton.  It was also exhausting! 

 I had three days off from work right before the market, so I worked on making up a lot of products to take to the market.  Things like lotions, scrubs, bath whip and bath melts.  I wasted a TON of time making solid bubble bath bars - it was/is a giant failure.  I will get the recipe right eventually though!  It made great bubble bath - just a little lacking in the 'solid' part!

I should have spent more time making lotion.  I ended up only taking hazelnut coffee creme and sold out very quickly.  

It was interesting to see what people bought.  The things that I think are amazing - didn't sell!  LOL!  Like this rainbow soap.  It's so pretty!  I didn't sell a single bar.  However, oatmeal, milk and honey?  It doesn't look like much, but everyone wanted a bar.  

Other things:  Very important to have a "sniffy" bar out for people to handle and....sniff!  I was sure people would love these Gardener's soap.  But I didn't have a bare bar out for people to handle and I sold - zero of the gardener's soap.  Coffee soap, however?  Sold out!  I have to make some more now.

My signage needs work.  99% of the people didn't see my sign, even when they were standing right in front of it.  They would still ask - how much are these?

People will pay $20 for 5 bars of soap - after they think about it for a while.
They will grab 4 oz of lotion for $10 with out pausing.  

'Doh bring business cards!  One of those things I ran out of time to do.  I really needed business cards.  This next week I plan on putting my business cards with a small soap sample.

People like to get a little something when they 'check out'.  I had white paper bags that I put purchases into and I would tuck a soap saver in with their soap.  People really liked that!   I also put a copy of a brochure from the handmade soap guild, but I only had 10 copies and I ran out pretty fast.  Next time more copies!

Never sit down.  I stood the entire 5 hours and greeted people with a friendly word, smile (I smiled SO much) and say something about your product like, "These handmade soaps make great gifts!"  

This next Saturday will be my last week at the market, so I hope it goes well!  

Even with all the mistakes I made: I sold a lot and I was VERY happy with the amount that I made.  If I had sold any more I wouldn't have enough for this next week!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fairs and Lotions!

Lake Superior Ice - Tingle Mint

I have been very busy with Kiyi Kiyi things!  Here are a few of my newest creations.

I will be selling  displaying (Hopefully selling, but let's not get cocky LOL!) at the Farmer's Market for the first time this next Saturday.  I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts about how I designed my booth with vintage/up cycled items, so look for those posts in the next few days.

I'm getting a real professional web site made - yay!  So excited about that :)  I'll post a link when it's up and running.

Kiyi Kiyi soaps will be for sale at The Indiana Blueberry Festival - here.  What?!  Indiana?!  Yeah!  I'm participating in a fun Soaps Across America group.  So if you want to see Kiyi Kiyi soaps live and in person (and you live in Indiana!) go check out the Blueberry Festival the last week-end in August. 

Acai and Mangosteen

Herbal Essential - smells EXACTLY like herbal essences shampoo


Yes it's finally here!  I will stop hording it all and finally put some up for sale.  Hopefully some will make it onto the Etsy site - if my local people don't buy it all!  I love making lotion, I LOVE using my lotion, but I HATE making labels for everything.  I'm a perfectionist freak and label making drives me crazy, because I can't control everything!  I should go sniff some soap and calm down!  :)  LOL!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gifts For Dad


 I'm having a lot of fun making soap for my Dad!  I gave him a bar of the Pine Tar soap and he loves it!  I love it too!  I have a piece by my sink and it's the first one I reach for -  and I have a lot of soap by my sink!  This pine tar soap really calms down itchy skin.  I also had some cuts and a burn on my hand, after I started using the pine tar soap the cuts and burn healed up SO FAST!  I was really impressed.  It's also a very nicely moisturizing bar.  Your skin feels soft, but not greasy.  It's a really great bar and I think I will be making more of it!

My newest creation is the steel grey bar scented with Axe dark temptations.  This is a really nice, simple bar.  Perfect for men - smells wonderful.  It has nice clean lines and, according to my unofficial survey, that is important to guys.  They might think something like this Alice bar looks neat, but what they want is an unfussy bar that gets them clean.

The Steel Grey bar is made with goats milk and it has an amazing amount of fluffy moisturizing lather.  I really love the recipes I have developed - nice hard bars that last and last, but tons of moisturizing bubbles and lather in the bath.

Looking for a gift for Dad?
Check out the Pine Tar Soap here - 

And the Steel Grey bar here - KiyiKiyiSteelGrey